The United Kingdom has always entertained a peculiar and cautious relationship with the European Union, due to several reasons: geographical, political, historical. However, on June 23rd , 2016 such a stormy relationship collapsed, as a consequence of the United Kingdom European Union membership referendum, better known as the Brexit Referendum.
The YouthMetre Study Group took place in London on October 22nd , almost 4 months after the Brexit Referendum.
Since the YouthMetre aims at discussing issues concerning the Youth Strategy developed by the European Commission, we knew that the topic of Brexit would have been the elephant in the room. We also knew that neglecting the successes of the Erasmus+ Programme as one of the EU Commission most successful programme in the field of soft policy cooperation, and one of the most popular opportunities for young European citizens, was not an option.
The London YM Study Group was organised in collaboration with the London-based youth online magazine Pandeia.eu. In particular, the SG was coordinated by Jamie, one of the magazine’s founders.
Indeed, YouthMetre staff were thrilled to enter in contact with Jamie’s entourage of young journalists, and it was an honour to hold the Study Group in one of the most culturally rich and international city in Europe: London.
Participants to the Study Group showed high-level profiles, as those of professional journalists, BA or MA students in Political Science, Lawyers or Human Rights experts. More remarkably, each of them, on a sunny Saturday morning, chose to attend the YM Study Group because they wanted to earn some knowledge on the European Union.
This proves what the vote turnout showed after the Brexit Referendum: 75% of 18-24 years old Britons voted to remain in EU. (Source: YouGov, The Guardian)
Some participants, to describe their feelings and impressions post-Brexit, said something that hit us before the Referendum, we took for granted the fact that we owned two citizenships, the British and the European one. Both of them imply duties, but also rights. In the aftermath of the referendum, the only certain result we know is that we have lost one of these citizenships and we are entitled to less rights than before. Frankly, we do not like it.
The Study Group was not the space to comment the referendum’s results in an informal way. The YouthMetre Study Group was an occasion to discuss the opportunities that the Erasmus+ Programmes offer to Britons, and it was a chance to gain a knowledge on:
- How and where obtain information, data and statistics on young European.
- How to enter in contact with other EU NGOs.
- How to share project ideas with other civil society organisations.
Participants were hungry for information concerning the European Commission’s Youth Strategy 2011-2018, while being generous in providing YM staff with thoughtful feedback on the YouthMetre tool, its maps and its graphic layout.
Since several participants were journalists, they analysed the e-tool from their professional viewpoint, with the aim to make it more appealing to young european journalists. They encouraged the YM’s developers to create a Mobile APP, and they gave useful graphic hints and tips to improve the visualisation of the tool.
As if it was not enough, Londoners participants bestowed comments on several Key Areas of the EU Youth Strategy, particularly focusing on the areas of Youth and the World and on Social Inclusion.
Not only did we enjoyed the company and friendship of so interesting personalities. But we also believe that with such open-minded mentalities, curious to learn and to experience, any border should be erected between continental Europe and the UK.
Date of event: 22 October 2016
Location: London (United Kingdom)
Hosting Organisation: Pandeia
Coordinator: Jamie Timson
Author: Elisa Bellotti